FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
FRIDAY - September 9, 2011
DUNN WOMAN SENTENCED
RALEIGH - United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that in federal court todayUnited State District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced EARLENE MCKEITHAN BAGGETT, 58, Dunn, North Carolina to five years’ probation and 300 hours of uncompensated community service. The Court also imposed restitution in the amount of $67,311.00.
On March 31, 2011, a Criminal Information was filed charging BAGGETT with subscribing to false income tax returns. On May 16, 2011, she pled guilty to the charge.
During the course of the investigation of health care fraud at Learning Links Educational Network Services Center, Inc., in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and its owner, Sandra Elliott, federal law enforcement learned that BAGGETT, also known as Dr. Baggett or Reverend Baggett, was hired by Elliott to serve ostensibly as the medical director for Learning Links. During 2008 and 2009, while working and receiving a large salary from Learning Links, BAGGETT continued to receive a salary from AME Zion Church, where she was a minister. She also received approximately $34,000 a year from the North Carolina Retirement Systems in alleged disability benefits. BAGGETT failed to report and pay tax on any of her church income and much of the money she received from Learning Links. She also represented to the North Carolina Retirement Systems Board in 2008 and 2009 that she had no income. In 2009, BAGGETT had an estimated unreported income of $115,000.
“Prosecuting people who violate our tax laws is how we defend the integrity of our tax system and protect the vast majority of honest, tax-paying Americans from those who would otherwise leave them to pick up the tab," said Kay B. Jernigan, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation. “In dealing with the IRS, honesty is the best policy.”
BAGGETT admitted to Judge Boyle that she had been dishonest regarding the reporting of her income for 2008 and 2009.
Investigation of this case was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations and the United State Department of Defense Criminal Investigative Service. Assistant United States Attorney William Gilmore represented the government.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.